2006-07-17 - Contentment: More than Words
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, 'I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee'.
Allow me to ramble, just a little bit, touching here and there, all in illustration. At Christmastime, here in America, we make lengthy "wish lists". "I want this and this and this and that". Commercials lead us to want even more. Keeping up with the Joneses is no longer the issue; now we do our best to keep up with the Smiths and Millers and Johnsons and...and...and... the list goes on and on.
I am the type of person who can easily fall into the "eye want" trap. I used to want something...and then when it was given to me, I would grumble about the color. Contentment was a faraway issue.
Some things have happened, though, that caused me pause to rethink.
In the first week of August, 1992, I taped a 3x5 card under my kitchen window. I had been reading in Philippians, and was struck with this portion of verse 11 of chapter 4, "For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."
I started thinking about my need for more than what I had, as well as my general state of dissatisfaction with life in general. I decided to write just that portion of the verse on the card, and like I said, I taped it under the window for me to read as a daily reminder that I was to be content with whatever God handed me.
At the end of August 1992, my world turned upside down. We were living south of Miami, FL and just barely north of Homestead. Hurricane Andrew blew through. It took 11 of our 19 windows, and stripped our walls of all of the pictures that had decorated them. Just about everything that we owned was destroyed or missing.
Only one thing remained on my kitchen wall. A 3x5 card that I had taped under the window. "For I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." We had no insurance, so we literally lost it all.
God caught my attention.
Fast forward to the fall of 1998. Our cars are old. 1983 and 1985. High-mileage gas hogs. I had been reading in Philippians again, and as I was reading, God showed me this verse in chapter 4 -- "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
I thought about our vehicles. I had been worrying about them giving out, and I decided I wasn't going to worry anymore. I began to thank Him for allowing us to have them. I thanked Him for every mile. I told Him that they were old, and I asked Him if He would give me a newer vehicle with fewer miles. I told Him that I would take the very best care of my station wagon that I could.
And I have. I still have the wagon. But, in early March 1999, the truck that my husband drove broke on a Wednesday. On Thursday, a friend of mine called from Miami (we now live 200 miles north of where we used to live). This friend told me that his dad had died and had given him a Volvo, and he felt God was telling him to give me the Volvo. It's a 1985, but only had 67,000 miles on it. Through thanksgiving and supplication, God met our need.
Fast forward to September 1999. Hurricane Irene blew through, and fire ants moved into my home. They built a nest in my laundry basket...and ate their way through several of my clothes before I caught them. More of my clothing was damaged or destroyed in a brief period of time, until I was left with only two dresses. The ways that they were destroyed were unbelievable, and everytime something would happen, I could feel my soul dampening. "God, WHAT are you DOING?"
I came to the conclusion that this was His body, and those were His clothes. He could dress me however He chose. For two months I wore the same dress to church every single Sunday. I wore the messed-up stuff the other days.
In the middle of all this, I became the Director for Child Evangelism in my county. I told God that this was His problem, I wasn't going to worry about it, and if He wanted me to wear the same thing every day, that was okay with me.
A friend of mine asked about my clothes. I told her everything that had happened. She took me out and we got 14 dresses. Someone else gave me six dresses. Someone else gave me a new outfit.
God provided through His people. I thanked Him for what I had, and He gave more to me than I had expected. In the last year, God has given me a car, clothes, couches, and more. He has met every need over and above what I asked for.
This devotional isn't about getting things, though. I have really and honestly learned that even if I had n-o-t-h-i-n-g at all to hold in my hands, I am still rich beyond compare, because I have a God Who loves me, Who cares for me and has great plans to prosper me and not to harm me.
He meets my needs. He showers me with the blessing of His sunshine; He rains His dew on me. He has promised that He will never leave me, nor forsake me.
Jesus didn't come to show us how to live, although we can learn from it. He came to die, in order to give us eternal life.
That is enough. Have YOU discovered that secret?
Father God, we get so trapped by what we see, that we forget that you have said to be content. Like a child whose mouth is full of cookies and his hand reaching for more, we are never satisfied, if all we are doing is wishing for what we don't have. We are an unthankful people. We are ungrateful, and You love us anyway. Forgive us, teach us to spend time on our knees in devotion to You. You deserve it. Thank You for the blessings You give us. We don't deserve it. We have more than we need; let us give to others. Because Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus gave us His life, let us give to others. In His precious name, Amen
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